Some of the strongest artists on The Voice found themselves in the bottom four Tuesday night, which confounded the coaches and forced those singers to perform one more time for the lone Twitter save.
After weeks of deftly avoiding elimination, veteran coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton found themselves in a vulnerable position following Monday night’s Top Eight performances when Usher‘s lone artist, soulful family man Josh Kaufman, and Shakira‘s only remaining singer, Massachusetts country singer Kristen Merlin, were the first artists to be deemed safe.
That left some serious pipes in the bottom four, including Sisaundra Lewis and Audra McLaughlin of Team Blake, and Delvin Choice and Kat Perkins of Team Adam (who advanced last week thanks to the Twitter instant save).
The four singers then took turns on stage and delivered a quartet of strong performances that seemed to leave the coaches equally awed and annoyed.
First up, perennial powerhouse Lewis delivered a typically strong performance, this time singing “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
“When I was listening to you, I couldn’t help but wonder why I have to see you standing there,” Shakira said of the Florida mom who has coached Céline Dion. “In a way it’s a little unfair because your voice is just so crazy, crazy good.”
Her coach agreed. “It’s a little contradictory for me to know we’re looking for the best singer in the world and to see Sisaundra in this position,” Shelton declared.
Next, country singer/college student McLaughlin let loose while singing “Done,” to the delight of the coaches.
Levine, still sporting his new blond locks, simply lamented that she and the other bottom three singers faced elimination.
“This season more than any season is surreal that these guys are fighting for their spot here. It just doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “I am confused and perplexed by this whole thing here … Every single one of you guys is amazing.”
Next, Perkins lit up the stage singing “Barracuda,” which led her coach to implore America to save her.
“Terry McDermott and Kat Perkins are the two best rock singers we’ve had on this show,” Levine declared, referring to the season 3 runner-up. “I want you guys to vote for her because rock ‘n’ roll is the best thing in the world and we haven’t really had someone carry the torch since Terry, and this girl carries the torch and then some.”
Delvin Choice, a singing barista with gospel roots, closed out the final performances with “Young Girls,” which earned more kudos from the coaches.
“I’m completely biased because you’re one of my favorites here. I’ve been secretly rooting for you the whole time,” Shakira confessed. “There’s nothing you do wrong when you get up there.”
Levine agreed and added, “Nobody sounds like Delvin. Nobody! It’s of another world. He does not deserve to be in the bottom four and neither does Kat and I’ve had enough of this.”
After the performances, America had five minutes to save an artist via Twitter, and Levine ranted some more just before the results were announced.
“I’ll do whatever y’all want me to do,” he told America as the voting window closed. “I will sell myself. I’ll do something crazy … Save these guys and do it now or I will be very, very, very upset with you.”
Fortunately, America didn’t provoke Levine’s ire: for the second week in a row Perkins received the instant Twitter save.
Levine raised his arms in victory after her name was called, while the Minneapolis nanny simply fell to her knees in relief.
The Voice‘s Top Five will perform live on Monday (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.